Monday, October 31, 2011


Illusion of Freedom
It's taken me a long long time to realize that freedom really doesn't exist in this country to the extent I had initially believed,  and it hasn't for quite a long time.   I was one who, like so many others, drank the Kool-aid and spent the majority of my youth actually believing the propaganda I was taught in elementary and secondary school.  The propaganda about how we had rights and freedoms and could do whatever we wanted to (as long as it wasn't against the law) because "it was a free country."  Or at least that's how we interpreted it.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard or made that statement myself, as I was growing up.  As kids we used to think that it meant we could do almost anything we wanted to since, "it was a free country."  Now of course, over many years, I've come to realize that wasn't quite true.  We couldn't do just anything, because there were some limitations and restrictions to this unbounded freedom.  There were parameters, a boundary if you will, within which you had to practice these freedoms and rights.  I believe,  as we were taught about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, we took our minimal understanding of it and ran with this newly discovered knowledge and took it way too far.   I had a friend who once told one of our teachers that he couldn't make him stand with his nose on the back wall for misbehaving since, "it was a free country."  After he got paddled for mouthing off and his dad came to school and whacked him again, he became an early and important lesson for the rest of us in beginning to realize that these rights and freedoms weren't as unlimited as we believed.   Johnny came to learn that the hard way.  Yeah, he was free to a point but not in an unlimited way.   It was an eye opening experience to say the least.
I came to believe over time that what we had in America (despite the limitations) was still a pretty good deal.  I could still do a lot of things that I wanted to do.
However, in the last 10 years or so, I have been observing more and more encroachments on freedoms.  These encroachments appear more and more common in our daily lives.  In listening to the government, their reasoning many times is, it's for our own good, or some version of that. (there's a surprise)  If you consider everything from the TSA's pat down policies, the fact that where you live determines if you can purchase a gun or not,  the increase in police powers regarding search and seizure, the increased use of Eminent Domain, the use of Social Security Numbers as a form of Identification, the denial of permits to law abiding citizens for everything from guns to assembly requests or, just about everything in between, one can realize the overall significance (and increasing nature) of these encroachments.  
I realize I'm preaching to the choir regarding how much the government has infiltrated our daily lives and has taken over duties that in the past were performed by parents or dealt with within the family but, it is, in my opinion, worth being reminded, in order to stay vigilant regarding this troubling trend.  Much of this can slip by us without resistance because of the slow progression of it and the fact that much of it goes on without any notification.  We don't become aware of it until it affects us directly, and of course, by then, it is much too late.  It's like being eaten by ants except, it's by one ant at a time.   
It's proven to me that limited government is useful and can be a great partner in a free republic but, just as that is so, massive government bureaucracies and interference, can be deadly.   Sadly, when you have a large portion of the population that thrives on this bloat and largess, and who don't want it to end, because they benefit from it, we have the turmoil that we see around us today.  How we deal with this in the near term will have an unprecedented impact on America's future and whether or not we have one.

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